I recently had the opportunity (thanks Jeff Pulver) to speak at the 140 Conference in New York City. The subject: my first Life Dare, 30 days of sex with my husband. The talk would be tricky, not because any sort of fear of standing on the stage, but because of the content, finding a cohesive way to weave together the passion, purpose and authenticity inspired by my Indian grandfather and the social generosity I felt as I shared the lessons I learned from 30 days of sex with the one I love.
It turns out I had no reason to worry. The response was heady. The audience got it, laughing, calling out on cue, applauding key moments and celebrating the story of authenticity and connection. I strode off the stage empowered, puffed up with collective belief. I surfed the smiles and encouragement throughout the day. Fantastic.
Normally I am not able to relive these moments but my moment of glory (at around 1:49) was streamed and recorded. I wasn’t held back by hesitation or fear, I believed the overwhelming positive reactions. My first glimpses confirmed the success: I took control of the stage immediately and the audience response was exactly as I remembered. We were together, one, enjoying a moment that only a few hundred people could experience together.
As I watched, I could hear another voice, similar to mine- nagging and catty. Here’s what (she) said.
- My belly is hanging out over the jeans.
- Why did you wear those jeans with the dress? It could have been so much cuter.
- I’m slouching.
- I look bloated.
- My hair looks absolutely crazy- what was I thinking?
- How many times will be tuck my hair behind my ears?
It was startling, the difference between what I felt and what I saw. On stage, I was in the moment. I wasn’t thinking about my appearance, how I looked, what others might be thinking. I was fully ingratiated in the process of bringing my message to the people. I was the DOER. Once I was able to rate my performance through video, I became the OBSERVER. And, my Observer was not impressed. For a few days I felt a bit deflated. The presentation wasn’t as good as it could have been. I could have been CUTER.
We all have an Observer. It’s one of the most interesting and I think fantastic parts of being a human. My dog Reese doesn’t observe herself, she just does and wants. She doesn’t realize how dumb it is to shove her nose in someone’s rear end, or how much better she would be received if she would just mellow out. She just goes for it. Humans are totally different. As we are living, we are also floating above ourselves, constantly commenting on the state of affairs.
The truth is: a bit of my belly WAS hanging over my jeans. I have also seen my hair look better than it did that day. I really do need to anchor that little wisp hanging over my eye so I don’t need to push it back. But, the results, the end results of me connecting to the audience remains.
My Observer wanted to steal the moment and diminish the thunder but it was up to me to say, not this time. We all rate ourselves unkindly at times. But how do you relegate your Observer to advisor status?
- Resolve to live in the moment. When you are observing, you are not experiencing the moment. You are evaluating. What is your observer saying today? Are you feeling more pressured, unappreciated or disconnected than you need to? Living in the moment, experiencing each second as it happens will quiet your “observer.”
- Don’t allow your Observer to run free. I realize that inner voice sounds perfectly normal but your Observer is slightly crazy. Resolve not to allow your Observer to do anything but enhance your moments. The Observer is an advisor but if left to run free, will ruin anything and everything.
- Rewrite the script! That is the trick- your Doer and your Observer need to have an open conversation. The observations must be taken under advisement as you move forward. Take a look at a few of the comments that can ruin even the most positive person’s day:
- ”That’s not going to work out.” Sure there are reasons why it might not but if I am committed to the process, I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get to it.
- “She clearly isn’t interested in you.” Easy enough- just ask.
- “He doubts your sincerity.” You don’t have to look sincere, you just have to be sincere and rest will resolve itself.
- “I’m so pressured, how will I ever get this done.” You have a lot to do. You can cut some stuff out, combine a few tasks and get working right now because this moment is all you have.
It took me a few days to look at the video again and I still saw the imperfections but my Observer had new things to say. Congratulations for your daring. What a gift to connect with that audience. You are a lucky lady to bask in your husband’s love. And- I can’t wait to do it again!
Do you DARE to quiet your observer? Check out lifedare.net and choose from over 30 Dares that could change your life! Watch Life Dare TV for amazing examples of a daring life in action. Liz is available to coach you to success! E-mail her at email@example.com.